Lowering pH Levels


pH levels need to be within 6.8 – 7.2. 6.8 is the ideal level.

How does HIGH pH affect my pool?


A pH above 7.2 renders the copper a less effective sanitizer, which can lead to algae growth and other sanitation issues. A high pH can also lead to “copper fall out.” Copper fall out is when the copper falls out of its ION form and returns to a solid state. This can cause your pool water to appear blue in color and can also cause “plating.” Plating is when copper deposits itself to the surface of your pool causing bluish deposits. Thankfully, these deposits are not permanent.
Dropping your pH down to 6.8 (and maintaining a lower copper level of .5 ppm) will allow the copper to fall back into its desired ION form.


To Lower the pH Level:


  1. Fill a 5 gallon bucket about halfway with pool water. Then, add liquid muriatic acid to the bucket, creating a solution of about 2 parts water to one part acid.
  2. Walk around the pool gradually adding the acid/water solution evenly to the pool.
  3. Wait a day for the solution to mix thoroughly and then test the pH again. If the pH is still above 7.2, add another dose of acid/water solution.


Tips for pH management:


  1. The higher the pH is, the more acid is required, exponentially, to bring it down. Err on the side of using more acid to bring the pH down more quickly. The pH will always tend to correct itself upward if it does get too low.
  2. The trick to extreme stability is keeping the pH around 6.8 and not letting it get above 7.0.
  3. ECOsmarte only recommends using liquid muriatic acid or a product called “Acid Magic” to lower the pH. Never use dry acid, as it raises sodium levels in the pool.


Testing Copper Levels


Test the pH level first. Adjust pH to 6.8-7.2 if needed before testing Copper levels.


  1. With a clean, dry sample tube, take a sample of water about 18″ below the water – away from return jets and skimmers.
  2. Add 5 drops of Copper A to the tube, cap it, and turn it upside-down to mix.
  3. Add 5 drops of Copper B to the same tube, cap it, and turn it upside-down to mix.
  4. Wait three minutes.
  5. With the color chart on a flat surface, hold the tube about 1″ above the chart. Look down through the length of the tube and compare to the color chart.
  6. Record Results. The pool must have a copper level between .4 – .7ppm. On a 20,000 gallon pool, it takes, on average, 4 hours to move .1ppm and 12 hours to move .3ppm.


How does the pH of my pool affect my Copper Test?



A pH reading above 7.2 is going to give you a FALSE LOW copper reading, meaning you may have an optimum copper level even though the test says you do not.
Adjust the pH down below 7.2 (ideally 6.8) and retest the copper.

A pH reading below 6.8 is going to give you a FALSE HIGH copper reading, meaning you may not have an optimum copper level even though the test says you do.
Low pH will tend to correct itself on its own. However, you can adjust the pH up to 6.8 using baking soda.



How do Phosphates affect my pool and ECOsmarte System?



Phosphates are food for algae. Leaving or adding phosphates in the pool will cause recurrent algae blooms, which can lead to a green pool and can also cause cloudy water. Phosphates are in the water supplies now because of farm runoff, acid rain, and municipal water treatment. Whenever water is added to the pool, phosphates might also be added. Phosphates will inhibit your ECOsmarte system’s ability to generate copper. If you are struggling to raise copper, check for phosphates. Although your phosphate test that came with your ECOsmarte system tests for most phosphates, a digital phosphate test at your pool store (or the Micro 10 Digital Test kit for your home) can confirm the presence of phosphates that your home test cannot. Phosphates from cool burning of refining and jet fuel drops.


Use a phosphate removal product to eliminate phosphates.




If the phosphates are under 1000ppb



  1. Sea Klear Phosphate Remover
  2. Phos-Free
  3. Phos-X
  4. Zero-Phos


If the phosphates are over 1000ppb



  1. Sea Klear Phosphate Remover


Calcium Hardness


If Calcium test results in calcium levels below 400ppm, add calcium chloride flakes to raise the hardness and to balance the pool. Calcium chloride flakes can be found at the pool store and places that make concrete. Make sure to get the flakes and not the pellets.

A very general rule of thumb is that 100lbs of calcium will raise the calcium level in a pool 20,000 gallon pool about 100 ppm. Add 50lb bags at a time and test in between each 50 lbs.


  1. Put 10lbs of calcium at a time in a pool leaf skimmer. Swish it around toward the middle of the pool until it dissolves. Repeat this process to add 50 – 100 lbs of calcium, often required at start-up or once a year.
  2. Wait a couple days before testing the water again to make sure the calcium is thoroughly mixed into the pool water.
  3. Retest the water.
  4. Repeat the process until the water is at least above 400ppm.


Calcium is very stable in the water and only drops if there is a lot of rain. Test after heavy storms and about every six months.


How to Clear Algae from Pool:

Whenever you have algae, start by running the pool 24 hrs a day till the pool clears up.

To eliminate algae, clear a pool:

  1. Make sure water chemistry is correct: pH = 6.8, Calcium Ca = 400ppm. Adjust pool as necessary to meet these values.
  2. Replace cartridge filters with a sand filter vessel and Glass Pack media inside.  Replace sand media inside sand filters with Glass Pack media. 10X improvement. 10 Year Life.
  3. If you have not serviced your DE filter or Bleach Treated your sand or GlassPack filter media, do so now.  Instructions below**.
  4. Make sure the Cu/Oxy chamber is cleaned 2X a year – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yNFt78ftCw&t=12s
  5. Leave pump running 24 hrs/Day for next 3 days.
  6. If you put in too many of whatever into your pool: Algaecide, Non-chlorine shock or Sea Klear – foaming may result. So do the math/ratio for your pool to get the Correct Amount of Treatment to Use =  Amount prescribed below x (Your pool volume / 20,000)
  7. Then day 1 asap in morning put in 32Oz/20K pool gallons Poolstar Algaecide 60% or GLB Algimycin 2000. Any brand with “60” in the title will do. Confirm Algaecide is non-metallic.
  8. 12 – 24 hrs later put in 5LBS/20K pool gallons non-chlorine shock (potassium peroxymonosulfate); we use GLB Oxy-Brite.
  9. 12 hours later put in 16Oz/20K pool gallons and use SeaKlear Phosphate Remover (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE BRANDS).
  10. You can swim 30 minutes after you put in the algaecide, shock and phosphate remover.  That said, we concluded 2 hrs wait would be prudent.
  11. 24 hrs after you put the SeaKlear in, filter pressure should come up between 6lbs and 10lbs. Backwash filter 2 minutes, rinse filter 30 seconds or sight glass to clear.
  12. IF water is still hazy 48 hrs later treat with 5LBS/20K pool gallons non chlorine shock again.
  13. Make sure water chemistry is correct: pH = 6.8, Calcium Ca = 400ppm, Copper Cu = 0.6, Phosphates Pho =0ppb. Adjust pool as necessary to meet these values.


** Bleach Treat a Sand or GlassPack Filter

  1. If you have sand or Glass Pack media in filter from last year/season or have not bleach treated in the last year, complete a filter bleach treatment cycle in the spring upon pool start up:
  • Backwash Filter 2.5 mins.
  • Rinse Filter 30 seconds or until sight glass clear.
  • Loosen filter diverter valve collar screw, remove it, open and inspect filter, Unscrew the drain plug.
  • Drain the water until the media is visible. ( This may take a while.) Replace the drain plug.
  • Remove any debris.
  • Make sure media is within 10-12″ of the top. Add media as necessary.
  • Pour 2 gallons bleach per 300LB of media in filter.  Wait 8-12 hours with pump off. Then put it back together.
  • Backwash Filter 2.5 mins.
  • Rinse Filter 30 seconds or until sight glass clear.

**DE Filter Wash and Cleaning.  See video here: http://www.troubleshooters.com/pool/de_filter_cleaning.htm

  1.  Have the DE filter broken down for cleaning and checked for broken grids.
  2. Remove the grids.
  3. Soak the grids in a 2 parts water to 1 part liquid muriatic acid solution for 12 hours. (Soaking grids is critical twice yearly.)
  4. Reassemble the grids.
  5. Add DE powder per instructions.



How to Clear Algae from Pool with Aluminum (Al) Sulfate Drop

First, it is recommended to follow the Algaecide, Non-Chlorine Shock, Phosphate remover process above to clear algae.

Only after all these steps are completed above, IF you are still green and or cloudy, treat with aluminum sulfate per below:

  1. You will need to raise the pH to ≥ 7.4 (add 4 lbs baking soda/20K pool gallons – 1 to 2x per day) or it will not work. Measure pH 1 hour after adding until at that level.
  2. When pH is ≥ 7.4, add 25 lbs of aluminum sulfate per 20K pool water gallons with the filter valve on RECIRCULATE and pump on for three to four hours. Correct amount of Al Sulfate to use = 25LBs x (Your pool volume / 20,000). The Al sulfate can be obtained in 5 lb bags for around $6 each, please call ahead do make sure you get the correct kind. Do not buy the organic brown version, it is ineffective.
  3. Shut the pool pump off overnight.
  4. Note: Another benefit of the Al sulfate application is while the algae “drops” out, so will the phosphate levels, very significantly. Hence another benefit of using the Al sulfate when phosphate levels are very high (>500ppb).
  5. The pool will “drop” all particulate to the bottom; water will be crystal clear overnight 12-24 hrs.
  6. Do not circulate pool water until all the particulate dropped is vacuumed with the filter valve setting on WASTE and pump on. A simple garden hose should be running into the pool with new water adding while vacuuming particulate with the filter valve setting on WASTE.
  7. When vacuuming is complete set the pool filter valve to the FILTER setting. Then with pump on check all levels (pH, Cu, Ca, Pho). The pH should be down as well as the Copper Cu, with Calcium Ca levels unaffected. The Phosphate Pho level will drop to 100 to 500ppb from previous tests. The remaining phosphates if any can be addressed with Sea Klear Phosphate Remover 16Oz per 20K pool gallons (do not substitute brands), following the instruction to BACKWASH the filter 2.5 minutes and then RINSE the filter 30 seconds before applying Sea Klear, and do the same BACKWASH/RINSE cycle within 24 to 36 hours after applying the Sea Klear.
  8. Make sure water chemistry is correct: pH = 6.8, Calcium Ca = 400ppm, Copper Cu = 0.6ppm, Phosphates Pho = 0ppb. Adjust pool as necessary to meet these values.

Please join our Facebook Group

Also, follow us on Twitter